White coat effect and white coat hypertension in community pharmacy practice

Blood Press Monit. 2005 Feb;10(1):13-8. doi: 10.1097/00126097-200502000-00004.


Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a white coat effect (WCE) can be observed and quantified in community pharmacy practice.

Methods: In five community pharmacies of Basel, Switzerland, clients asking for blood pressure (BP) measurement were recruited to participate in a free of charge study. Blood pressure was measured in four different settings: pharmacy (using mercury sphygmomanometers), outpatient clinic (measurement by a nurse using mercury sphygmomanometers), self-measurement at home (using automated wrist devices) and daytime ambulatory BP (ABP) monitoring (using SpaceLabs 90207 monitors). WCE was defined as the difference between pharmacy or outpatient and daytime ABP.

Results: A total of 50 subjects completed all measurements (42% male, mean age 53.7 years+/-14.0). Blood pressure values of the different settings: (means in mmHg+/-SD, systolic; diastolic): pharmacy BP 129+/-19; 82+/-10, outpatient clinic BP 127+/-15; 82+/-10, home BP 119+/-15; 73+/-9, daytime ABP 124+/-10; 79+/-8. Pharmacy BP was significantly higher (P=0.03 systolic; P=0.02 diastolic) compared with daytime ABP and differences among subjects with antihypertensive medication (n=22) were even more significant (P<0.01). Individual differences were found between pharmacy BP and daytime ABP: +4.6+/-14.8; +2.9+/-8.3. Outpatient BP was significantly higher compared with daytime ABP in diastolic (P=0.04) but not in systolic values. Individual differences between outpatient BP and daytime ABP were +2.5+/-13.1; +2.8+/-9.2. 'Clinically important WCE' (>or=20 mmHg systolic or >or=10 mmHg diastolic) was observed in 24% of all subjects in the pharmacy and in 20% in the outpatient clinic.

Conclusions: Our findings show that WCE and white coat hypertension exist in community pharmacy practice and are similar to the effects in an outpatient clinic.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Hypertension / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Office Visits